Now in session
In December, the Franklin County, Ohio, Common Pleas General Division moved into its new home, a 340,000-square-foot courthouse in downtown Columbus that is seeking LEED Gold certification from the Washington-based U.S. Green Building Council. In planning the building, the construction team used software to create three-dimensional models of all the building's systems, which helped save time, money and materials during construction.
The General Division's previous home inside the county's 30-year-old Hall of Justice had become too small to serve its 17 judges' caseloads, which are increasing at a rate of three and a half times faster than the population. The county contracted with locally based DesignGroup in 2006 to design a new courthouse, which would be located across the street from the existing facility. The county commissioners wanted a sustainable, beautiful civic structure that could serve the growing needs of the courts and residents while increasing accessibility to the judicial system.
The architect used building information modeling (BIM) software from Waltham, Mass.-based Autodesk to design the courthouse's various systems. Using BIM, architecture, engineering and construction partners identified and resolved conflicts during the design process instead of during construction when late resolution would have cost time and money. BIM also showed the building's design in three dimensions, which helped county officials make design decisions and contribute input on how the building's design could better support their jobs.
Construction began in December 2007 and was completed in December 2010. Sustainable building materials were used throughout the building, including recycled materials from local sources. The county estimates the new building is 25 percent more energy efficient and will save approximately 800,000 gallons of water each year, compared to a new code-compliant building. The courthouse also features a green roof to help reduce storm water runoff, reduce urban temperature and facilitate air cleaning.
Project: Franklin County Common Pleas Courthouse
Jurisdiction: Franklin County, Ohio
Architect of Record: Columbus, Ohio-based DesignGroup
Design Architect: Miami-based Arquitectonica
Courts Architect: Lexington, Ky.-based Ricci Greene Associates
Date completed: December 2010
Cost: $92 million